Re: Gambier Island Woodlots Put on Hold, July 2.
I am writing on behalf of the Consulting Foresters of BC to support the B.C. governments' decision to "delay awarding the woodlots (on Gambier Island) for a few weeks in order to help people with concerns better understand the woodlot process," as published in your paper.
As forest professionals engaged in the ongoing management of B.C.'s natural resources, we believe that the government is committed to striking a balance with the multiple resource values on the Island, including management of the working forest, and to address public input that has been requested and received for this area.
Gambier Island is part of B.C.'s working forest and we are proud to be a part of B.C.'s sustainable forest sector. The survival of forest consulting businesses and the local jobs we generate are dependent on Gambier Island as well as the many other working forests across B.C. It is disappointing, however, to see the misleading rhetoric by Peter Scholefield that states "combined with an existing woodlot, if the new woodlots are approved, it would see 25 per cent of the island under active logging,"
suggesting that it will all be logged immediately. This is simply not true as only a fraction of any woodlot area is logged on an annual or periodic (harvesting every five years) basis.
It's time to acknowledge that some people will never be happy with forest resource development despite the efforts our members and the B.C. government have put into ensuring sustainable resource development and striking a balance with B.C.'s many stakeholder needs.
The forest industry and a big piece of the B.C. economy relies on the entire working forest. If we continue to reduce our sustainable working forest, B.C.'s coastal communities will be giving up real jobs and lose millions of dollars of government revenue that pays for hospitals, doctors and teachers (yes, the ones that are on strike due to a lack of funding from government).
We strongly encourage the residents of Gambier Island and the Gambier Conservancy to engage with government while the award of woodlots is delayed, to fully understand woodlot management and in the end to support local jobs by allowing the Gambier Island woodlots to be awarded.
President The Society of Consulting Foresters of BC